The Whistle. Poem Rhyme Scheme and Analysis


I sing of a whistle a whistle of worthA
I sing of a whistle the pride of the NorthB
Was brought to the court of our good Scottish kingC
And long with this whistle all Scotland shall ringC
Old Loda still rueing the arm of FingalD
The god of the bottle sends down from his hallD
This whistle's your challenge to Scotland get o'erE
And drink them to hell Sir or ne'er see me moreF
Old poets have sung and old chronicles tellD
What champions ventur'd what champions fellD
The son of great Loda was conqueror stillD
And blew on his whistle his requiem shrillD
Till Robert the Lord of the Cairn and the ScaurF
Unmatch'd at the bottle unconquer'd in warF
He drank his poor godship as deep as the seaG
No tide of the Baltic e'er drunker than heG
Thus Robert victorious the trophy has gain'dH
Which now in his house has for ages remain'dH
Till three noble chieftains and all of his bloodI
The jovial contest again have renew'dJ
Three joyous good fellows with hearts clear of flawD
Craigdarroch so famous for wit worth and lawD
And trusty Glenriddel so skill'd in old coinsK
And gallant Sir Robert deep read in old winesL
Craigdarroch began with a tongue smooth as oilD
Desiring Glenriddel to yield up the spoilD
Or else he would muster the heads of the clanM
And once more in claret try which was the manM
By the gods of the ancients Glenriddel repliesN
Before I surrender so glorious a prizeN
I'll conjure the ghost of the great Rorie MoreF
And bumper his horn with him twenty times o'erF
Sir Robert a soldier no speech would pretendO
But he ne'er turn'd his back on his foe or his friendO
Said toss down the whistle the prize of the fieldP
And knee deep in claret he'd die or he'd yieldP
To the board of Glenriddel our heroes repairF
So noted for drowning of sorrow and careF
Bur for wine and for welcome not more known to fameQ
Than the sense wit and taste of a sweet lovely dameQ
A bard was selected to witness the frayF
And tell future ages the feats of the dayF
A bard who detested all sadness and spleenR
And wish'd that Parnassus a vineyard had beenS
The dinner being over the claret they plyD
And ev'ry new cork is a new spring of joyT
In the bands of old friendship and kindred so setU
And the bands grew the tighter the more they were wetU
Gay Pleasure ran riot as bumpers ran o'erF
Bright Phoebus ne'er witness'd so joyous a coreF
And vow'd that to leave them he was quite forlornV
Till Cynthia hinted he'd find them next mornV
Six bottles a piece had well wore out the nightW
When gallant Sir Robert to finish the fightW
Turn'd o'er in one bumper a bottle of redX
And swore 'twas the way that their ancestor didY
Then worthy Glenriddel so cautions and sageZ
No longer the warfare ungodly would wageZ
A high ruling Elder to wallow in wineA2
He left the foul business to folks less divineA2
The gallant Sir Robert fought hard to the endO
But who can with fate and quart bumpers contendO
Though fate said a hero shall perish in lightW
So up rose bright Phoebus and down fell the knightW
Next up rose our bard like a prophet in drinkB2
Craigdarroch thou'lt soar when creation shall sinkB2
But if thou would flourish immortal in rhymeC2
Come one bottle more and have at the sublimeC2
Thy line that have struggled for freedom with BruceD2
Shall heroes and patriots ever produceD2
So thine be the laurel and mine be the bayF
The field thou hast won by yon bright god of dayF

Robert Burns


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